New York City began phase four of its COVID reopening plan today (Monday) with Governor Andrew Cuomo urging residents to remain vigilant as the virus ravages parts of the nation.
“I want all New Yorkers to be on high alert. The virus is spreading. It’s all across the country. It’s getting worse and it will have an effect on New York,” said the governor, who’s been lauded for his handling of the crisis and flew to Georgia this morning to help that state devise a battle plan as numbers there surge (picture top).
Eight people died from COVID-19 in New York State on Sunday and the hospitalization rate reach 716, the lowest numbers since the crisis began 142 days ago.
The numbers were good enough to allow the Phase 4 reopening to get underway, low-risk outdoor activities and entertainment at 33 percent capacity, outdoor professional sports without fans, media production and the reopening of schools under strict guidelines.
Courts, cultural institutions, indoor dining and malls remain in lockdown though, as the city monitors the situation across the US where Cuomo blamed hasty re-openings and lack of Federal direction for the new outbreaks.
“The second wave is being created by the negligence of our government,” said Cuomo. “We knew what needed to be done to stop the virus. New Yorkers did it.
“We have a president and a federal government that still lives in the state of denial. The White House said yesterday, we’re going to reopen schools, the president wants to reopen schools, and quote, “The science should not stand in the way,” closed quote. The science wins. That’s what we learned about the economic reopening. The science wins. The science defeats your political theories.
“They are continuing in the misguided path they have taken from day one. They’ve denied the virus, the virus won. They denied science, science won. They denied necessary precautions recommended by every health official, and the virus won. So, they continue on a losing strategy and the people of this country pay the price.”
The New York reopening comes as the city’s Business Improvement District Association calls for more support for struggling firms.
In a let to Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson Association chairman, Robert Benfatto said, “The city and state must find ways to stimulate commercial activity or we will continue to lose businesses and jobs at an alarming rate. Our action plan offers a set of steps our government can take to stem the current financial freefall.”
Benfatto said the plan is designed to enable businesses, especially retail stores and restaurants, to restore their vitality and thereby speed up the city’s recovery. The plan includes rent and mortgage relief, an expansion of the Open Restaurants program to other storefront businesses, streamlining State Liquor Authority’s procedures and an activation of sales tax exemptions.
The NYC BID Association represents 76 commercial districts in every borough where more than 93,000 business are located. Each member BID provides enhanced services such as security, sanitation, marketing, and streetscapes elements.
Several major organizations are lending their support to the BID Association’s plan, including the NYC Chambers of Commerce in all five boroughs, the New York Building Congress, the New York State Restaurant Association, the New York City Hospitality Alliance, the New York State Supermarket Association, and the New York State Latino, Bar and Lounge Association.